Iran Sentences the 'Blogfather' to 19 Years

Hossein Derakhshan accused of insulting religious figures, spying for Israel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2010 4:45 AM CDT
Hossein Derakhshan invented a Farsi-language version of blogging software, inspiring an explosion of dissident blogs.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – An Iranian-Canadian nicknamed "the Blogfather" has been jailed for 19 years for supposedly spreading propaganda, insulting Islamic thought, and co-operating with hostile countries. Hossein Derakhshan, 35, helped launch the Farsi-speaking blogosphere after moving to Canada in 2000. He was arrested in 2008 during a visit to his homeland and has been held in a notorious Tehran prison since, notes the Telegraph.

Derakhshan visited Israel twice and blogged from inside the country, hoping to open dialogue between Israeli and Iranian citizens—though Iran doesn't recognize Israel and prohibits its citizens from traveling there. Iranian prosecutors accused him of spying for Israel and sought the death penalty. Canada's foreign minister called the sentence "completely unacceptable and unjustifiable," the Toronto Star reports. "Canada believes that no one should be punished anywhere for simply exercising one’s inherent right to freedom of expression,” he said.

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